Two words: CURE CANCER!

Everyone knows someone that has been affected by cancer. We ride because we want to contribute to research into finding a cure for this terrible disease. Here are some individuals close to the Dassault Systèmes family for whom we ride:

We ride for everyone battling this disease but especially for these individuals:

 

Our Pedal Partner for 2019 is a wonderful young woman named Mackenzie. She's 21 years old and has the biggest smile and most positive attitude of any 21-year-old we've met. Mackenzie was diagnosed with Metastatic Ewing Sarcoma in February of 2018. She began treatment in early March 2018 and had surgery in June to remove a tumor in her leg. She has become quite a pro at walking on crutches as she's been doing so for close to a year!

Mackenzie completed her last round of chemo in November and radiation in December 2018. As she says it's one day at a time right now, but is very optimistic and has big plans for her future.

To quote her, "The Jimmy Fund clinic was my source of hope when I was given the scariest news of my entire life. From the moment I stepped foot in the waiting room I knew it was special. There was never a time at the clinic where I felt as though I was alone or I was a lost cause. Because of the Jimmy Fund I want to get my Masters degree in Social Work and work with pediatric oncology patients and their families through their hardest times."

You, Mackenzie are a Rock Star ☆! And we are so proud to be riding for you this year.

The Pan-Mass Challenge gives teams the opportunity to be paired with a family whose child is going through cancer treatment at Dana-Farber, and we refer to them as our Pedal Partner. Christina has been our PMC Pedal Partner since 2013 when she had recently been diagnosed with stage IV Rhabdomyosarcoma, a very rare form of cancer. We have so enjoyed getting to know Christina and her family over the years, and from the moment we met her we were impressed by her positive attitude and by the joy she brought to everyone she met.

In 2012 she was 6 years old when her family got the news that she may not survive more than two months. While we feel a deep and profound sense of loss with Christina’s passing in January of 2018, we are so very grateful for the world-class care she received from the doctors, nurses, and staff at The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute who helped to give her five more years of a very active and fulfilling life. She of course had good days and bad, but truly lived her life to the fullest and welcomed each day with grace, strength, wisdom, and a very strong faith.

We remain inspired by Christina's ability to remain positive in the face of adversity, and by her incredible strength and unwavering faith in spite of the challenges she endured. We are so honored to have her father, Fernando, ride with Team Dassault Systèmes again in 2018, and proud and privileged to continue to support her family.


Team Dassault Systèmes' 2012 Pedal Partner was Megan, an adorable and active two and a half year old from Haverhill, MA. She was diagnosed with Adrenal Cortical Carsonoma in February of 2011 at barely 15 months of age. She completed her last round of 5 day stays in the hospital for chemotherapy in October 2011, and she finished her once daily, 9 month long home administered chemo on November 1st 2011. We are pleased to report that as of May 2013, Megan has reached a couple of significant milestones; For one, she is now 3 years old and secondly, she has been cancer free for close to a year and a half. The two year mark will be very significant because if everything remains clear until then, her chances increase dramatically that she'll remain cancer free for life. We have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know little Megan, and we will continue to think positive thoughts for her and her family.

We ride for a number of reasons, some that are closely held and others more pronounced. Our motivation for why we readily participate in the PMC, is to stamp out that hideous heart breaker we know as cancer. Team Dassault Systèmes members from Providence will have special thoughts about our own SIMULIA family members, who include Effie Goldstein, wife of our former CEO Mark Goldstein and Tim Mason, the General Manager of SIMULIA’s office in Cleveland.

Sadly, Tim Mason, succumbed to cancer on Father’s Day, June 15, 2009 after a valiant fight. Tim was a talented engineer and manager and a wonderful personality who is sorely missed by his wife, two children and his colleagues. We honor his memory and hope to help prevent others being taken from us in the prime of their lives.

We ride as one and we ride for all……


Erica Leafquist, daughter of PMC rider and DS SolidWorks Corp. employee Eric Leafquist, began a ten year battle with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) when she was just four years old. Supported by the dedicated nurses and doctors at Dana Farber’s Jimmy Fund, and her selfless bone marrow donor, Erica courageously endured years of chemotherapy, radiation and two bone marrow transplants. She inspired those who knew her to call her “warrior princess” as she faced these arduous medical treatments with an indomitable spirit. Sadly, at the age of 14, Erica passed away. Erica’s parents, Eric and Kathy Leafquist, established the Erica Leafquist Fund to honor Erica and continue to battle ALL. All of Eric's PMC fundraising and is directed to this fund which is dedicated to leukemia research at Dana Farber.

I Will Honor His Journey by Continuing my Own…

I started riding the Pan-Mass Challenge because it is something I can do in the face of a disease that makes me feel so helpless. On this, my 7th year in the PMC, I will ride in loving memory of my dear husband, Greg.

Greg was diagnosed with a very a rare form of a Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma called lymphomatoid granulomatosis that had infiltrated his lungs in February 2009. It showed itself to be persistent and aggressive. It came back four times. In addition, the chemotherapy used to treat the cancer had a side-effect of giving Greg congestive heart failure. Amazingly, Greg managed to ride 25 miles of the 2011 PMC. Our oncologist, Dr. Eric Jacobsen, from Dana Farber had this to say about Greg’s determination:

“Greg was an incredibly kind and compassionate man and I always enjoyed our visits together. His zest for life and shear will to persevere were inspiring and I still find him to be a marvel. The fact that he rode the PMC within months of being diagnosed with a severe cardiomyopathy is one of the most astounding things I have encountered in my 17 years in medicine.”

Despite the excellent care he received at the Dana-Farber, and the Brigham and Women’s, Greg’s personal battle with cancer ended in January 2012.

One of the most important lessons I learned from traveling this journey with Greg is that every day is precious. None of us are guaranteed another day, so we better make the most of each and every one. Greg and I made a point to enjoy simple daily activities. When he was feeling good, we would shop, and cook together. On other days, we would watch the birds that frequented the feeders outside our window. Greg drew much pleasure from having our children around. We are both so proud of the amazing, loving adults they have become.

A few months before he died, Greg struggled to go to the wake of a good friend. It was so hard for him, knowing how close he was to the same fate. He wretched for the first five miles to the funeral home. I tried to take him back home. He said, “Just because something is difficult, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t still do it.” Fighting cancer, riding the PMC, grieving, these are all very difficult. I am inspired by Greg’s example to persevere in spite of the challenges.

This will be an especially difficult ride for me this year. I am asking you to help me honor Greg’s journey by sponsoring my Pan-Mass Challenge this year. To donate, you can send a check payable to PMC to me, at 6 Sterling Lane, Westford, MA 01886, or to donate on-line, go to: www.pmc.org/profile/MD0202.

If there is someone special that you would like me to ride in honor/memory of, please let me know and his or her name will be included on my jersey.

I thank you in advance for your kindness, generosity and prayers.

Riding in loving memory of Greg,
Marcia Dana

Bela (pictured with wife Lauri, and friend Bob in the center) first discovered the satisfaction of cycling in 1980 when he rode his bicycle along the Pacific coast from Portland, Oregon to San Francisco, California. Shortly after this ride, he moved along with his wife, Lauri, to Massachusetts, to work in the computer industry as a programmer. He joined men’s soccer teams, a sport he had enjoyed since he was fourteen and he continued to play for many years. He also coached youth soccer teams for his two children and served on the Westford Youth Soccer board for sixteen years until turning his enthusiasm for exercise to cycling.

He loved cycling with other people, often through the Westford Wheelers. He participated in either the American Diabetes Association Tour de Cure or the PMC or both every summer since 2002. He was a member of Team Dassault several times. He especially admired the support that the Pan-Mass Challenge gives to people who have faced cancer and are facing cancer. People found Bela to always be interested in having a good conversation, sharing his passion for music, movies, politics and sports (as a lifelong Giants fan, he savored their World Championship victory in 2010).

Full of optimism, compassion and energy, in all his dedication to the Pan-Mass Challenge, Bela never suspected that he would one day be diagnosed with cancer. Just prior to his son’s wedding in January, 2011, Bela experienced a severe headache. The headache subsided, but when his head just didn’t feel “right”, he sought medical advice, and on February 10, 2011 he was told he had two tumors, specifically known as glioblastoma multiforme. While treatments are available that slow down the course of this form of cancer, there is no known cure. He continued to stay immersed in friendships and activities, as much as he could, even as his strength and energy began to diminish. He was able to dance with his daughter at her wedding in June, 2011. In July, 2011 he learned that his son and daughter-in-law were expecting their first child. While he had hoped to be able to participate in either the Tour de Cure or the PMC in the summer of 2011, his condition did not allow him to do so.

On November 5, 2011, Bela passed away at Massachusetts General Hospital, at the age of 58. As his family reflects on his life, his rides with the PMC and the Tour de Cure count as accomplishments we know gave him deep satisfaction.

Peter Brennan had recently begun his official retirement when he was diagnosed with advanced stage Kidney Cancer. Upon his diagnosis, Peter was given 2-3 months to live with little hope for successful treatment.

Peter lived in Colorado's Rocky Mountains where he was an avid environmentalist and outdoor enthusiast. Before his diagnosis, Peter spent his days volunteering for the Rocky Mountain National Park Service creating and repairing mountain trails, and accompanying park rangers on hikes to mountain summits conducting water testing in lakes and streams for the University of Colorado. Having great knowledge about Colorado's terrain and environment, Peter also volunteered at the Estes Park Visitor's Center serving as an advisor and guide to park visitors.

Peter bravely fought his illness for seven and a half months before passing away on March 21, 2007. He had lived a full life but still had a lot more of living left to do. He was the father of former long-term SolidWorks employee, Julie Brennan.

Joyce Goodman, Mother and Mother in law of Team Dassault Systèmes riders Rob Goodman and Mark Feldman passed away in May 2009 after her second battle with cancer. Joyce was a breast cancer survivor and it was that successful battle that inspired Rob to start riding in the PMC in 2001. Rob has since raised over $200K in his 10 years participating in the PMC in her honor. Joyce left behind her husband Steve, son Andrew, daughter Jennifer (married to Mark) and their kids Jared and Sydney and Rob’s wife Stephanie and their kids Jake and Josh. Josh was born 6 weeks after Joyce’s passing and he was named after her.  Joyce’s last photo – pictured with her grandson Jake.

 

 

Myrna Bluestein was an energetic, fun-loving person with a kind heart, After being diagnosed with breast cancer, she went on to attend her son's wedding, see her first grandchild born and make many, many new friends. She is missed greatly. Myrna was the mother of SolidWorks' employee Michael Bluestein, with whom she's pictured here.

Dennis Sweeney is a programmer at Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corporation and has survived cancer twice.  At the age of 19 he survived testicular cancer when the right testis was infected with a teratocarcinoma which resulted in a right radical orchiectomy.  Ten days after having surgery to remove the cancer, abdominal exploratory surgery showed a cancer free lymph system so no chemo was needed.  At the age of 32 the left pectoral minor was infected with a germ cell tumor that was ten percent immature teratoma.  Since the second cancer was also a teratoma it was considered most likely to be a metastasis of the first.

Radiation and Chemotherapy were required after the second cancer because the tumor was exposed to the chest.  This is where cancer research comes in… the chemo that was required for this type of cancer was extremely difficult.  Any work that can be done to improve the survivability and quality of life for patients that require this treatment will be appreciated by countless people.

Dennis lives with his wife Kiyomi in Shirley, MA and considers every day a good day to be alive.

 

 

Ari is the 9 year old cousin of Team Dassault Systèmes rider Robert Goodman and was diagnosed with Pre–B cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in February, 2006. One day he was a cheery, adorable, bright kid running around – the next day he was tired, bruising easily and diagnosed with childhood cancer. Ari has since completed his chemotherapy treatment and is in remission. July of 2010 marked the one year anniversary of being off treatment. Ari is pictured in the center with his siblings


Chris Berg was a QA Engineer at Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corporation who lost his battle with cancer in late 2002 at the young age of only 29 years old. He had a great, friendly demeanor and very strong work ethic even while facing one of the physically toughest battles. We miss Chris every day.

Stephanie was Team Dassault Systèmes' pedal partner from 2006 through 2008 and was diagnosed with ALL (acute lymphoblastic leukemia) when she was 10.  Stephanie completed her chemo treatment in December 2008 and had follow-up treatments at the Jimmy Fund Clinic in Boston.  Stephanie is an avid sports fan and continued to participate in the Wareham Little League, youth bowling league and was batgirl for The Wareham Gatemen in 2007 and 2008.

Stephanie actively participates in events raising money for Cancer research and treatment including The Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk and Relay for Life.

Sarah Elizabeth Fiorita was born August 17, 2000 and passed away on November 17, 2006. Sarah was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia in late 2004. She was a joyful little girl, a spit fire who faced her illness with strength and determination. Sarah, in her own special way, knew what cards were dealt to her. Only she became the dealer; she lived life on her own terms, in her own time. Sarah amazed everyone as she embraced life; always curious, always learning, always demanding perfection and always having the last word. Sarah was in constant motion whether ballet dancing, singing or playing. She left a lasting impression on everyone who met her. Ron Swarts of Team SolidWorks is a friend of the Fiorita family and rides in honor of Sarah.
Hayley is a 10 year-old going into 5th grade. She was diagnosed with a Wilm's Tumor (kidney cancer) when she was 5. The doctors removed the tumor along with one of her kidneys. She was treated at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and received follow up care at The Jimmy Fund Clinic and the Perini Clinic at the The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Hayley is now cancer free! She plays basketball and softball and enjoys all sports. She recently set a personal record for 287 bounces on a pogo stick!